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7 Reasons People Think Elle Woods From ‘Legally Blonde’ Has Autistic Traits

Photo: MGM Distribution Co/20th Century Fox
legally blonde

Fans of “Legally Blonde” admired the character of Elle Woods played by Reese Witherspoon for her earnest yet professional nature, however, fans are now theorizing that she may be autistic coded.

When the movie was released back in 2001, it was a huge success and even constituted a sequel, “Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde," with a third movie on the horizon set for a 2023 release.

Now, after analyzing Elle in the two movies, fans on the spectrum felt that her behavior is a result of possible autistic traits.

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Why fans think Elle Woods has traits of autism, and is a unique pop culture example to people on the autism spectrum:

1. She struggles with social cues.

While Woods is quite comfortable when she is with her friends and family, she eventually struggles to pick up social cues during her time at Harvard Law school.

One TikToker also explained her behavior and talked about it in her video.



“We get to see Elle navigate this transition from an environment where she is very familiar, She is thriving socially to the point where she’s considered a socialite,” the TikToker said.

“And then she is kind of thrust into this very ambiguous environment and not only is she really struggling to cope with a change of routine, a change of setting but also very ambiguous social rules and expectations.”

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2. Elle has detailed knowledge about her interests.

Woods has displayed her detailed knowledge about her interests in multiple scenes in the movie.

One of the scenes would be when she is out shopping and calls the salesperson out when she’s trying to make her buy a last-season dress for full price.



The TikToker claimed that Woods knowing information about the dress wasn’t a big deal as she was a fashion major in the movie.

“But Elle tells the salesperson that she knows that they didn’t just get the dress in because she saw it in a June Vogue a year ago,” the TikToker explained.

“She remembers the exact dress, she remembers where she saw it, she remembers the exact month. This is beyond what a fashion major would know.”

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3. Elle's use of the color ‘pink’ represents a routine-filled life

While Woods claims that she uses pink because it’s her favorite color, it can be seen as her need to have sameness in her life.

“Everything in Elle’s life is pink, her room, most of her clothes, her resume, her wedding dress,” the TikToker continued.

“When she went to DC in Legally Blonde 2, she couldn’t start working until her desk was decorated top to bottom in pink.”

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4. People think her dog may be her emotional support animal

Aligning with the sameness associated with the color pink, Woods’ dog, Bruiser, might also be the representation of sameness.

Since Woods brings along Bruiser with her wherever she goes, some people think that he may be a source of comfort for her.

5. She has challenges making deep connections and building relationships

Throughout the movies, Woods has maintained a friendship with her friends Margot and Serena from her time at home whom she has known for years.

While she does develop a friendship with Paulette whom she met at a salon near her law school, it can be argued that these are all like-minded people.



“Elle tried to make friends all the time but she often misses the mark to really connect with people,” the TikToker added.

“For example when she’s working in DC, she sees her new colleagues fighting and she tries to bring them together with her snap cup game but it’s not well received.”

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6. She is extremely trusting in an earnest way

Woods appears in the movie as a gullible and trusting character — she believes what someone says easily.

One person pointed to this as a piece of evidence of her autism.

“She is extremely trusting and takes people literally when they are kind to her which is OK when ‘she stays in her place’ as gender norms dictate,” they tweeted.

“But as she leaves her familiar habitus in which she has cultivated social, cultural, and symbolic capital through careful study and adherence to these social norms, she finds herself ostracized and abused.”

7. She is quite smart but has a hard time coping with schoolwork

Contrary to being portrayed as a ditzy sorority girl, Woods is highly intelligent. 

When she took the LSAT for law school, she got a 179 on the test and got into Harvard Law School.

However, during her first class at Harvard, she had trouble answering questions when Professor Stromwell put her on the spot.

Although there's no confirmation of whether or not Elle Woods truly was written to have autistic traits, many fans believe that the movie subtly hinted as much and love theorizing about a potentially new represntation of autism as seen through this iconic movie character. 

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Sanika Nalgirkar is a news & entertainment writer. She has a master's degree in creative writing. See more of her writing on her website.